UWA remains winless in GSC after 32-13 loss

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

LIVINGSTON, AL- Playing its final home game of the 2005 season, The University of West Alabama Tiger football team (2-7, 0-7 GSC) managed only 266 yards of total offense, falling 23-13 to Southern Arkansas (5-4, 3-4 GSC) on Saturday night.

Southern Arkansas dominated the first half, scoring early in the first quarter, when D.D. Holyfield scampered five yards for a touchdown, capping a four play, 63-yard drive. David Korff’s PAT made it 7-0.

The Tigers, looking to cut into the lead late in the opening quarter, had a 42-yard Mitch Warfield field goal attempt blocked, giving the ball back to Southern Arkansas at its own 25-yardline.

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Early in the second quarter, the Muleriders padded their lead when quarterback Rickey Wright hooked up with Derrick Hassell for a 26-yard touchdown strike. The PAT attempt failed, leaving SAU in front 13-0.

The Tiger defense came up big midway through the second quarter when Wright fumbled at the UWA 42-yard line. Tim Kelley recovered the fumble, giving the Tigers good field position. The offense, however, could not capitalize as it went three-and-out and was forced to punt the ball away. J.D. Wu’s punt pinned SAU deep in its own territory, at the four-yardline.

On the ensuing possession, the Muleriders marched 96 yards on only nine plays, capped off by a Ryan Sworn 33-yard touchdown run. Korff added the PAT and Southern Arkansas went up 20-0 with 3:36 remaining before halftime.

On the ensuing possession, the Tigers gave the ball back to the Mulerider offense when quarterback James Reiter fumbled and Chad Carner recovered, giving SAU the ball back at the Tiger 26-yard line. Korff later added a 27-yard field goal, putting Southern Arkansas in front 23-0 at halftime.

“We have got to get off to better starts,” said UWA Head Coach Sam McCorkle. “We were not mentally in the game in the first half of this one.”

The Tigers, who gained only 56 yards of total offense in the first half, responded by gaining 210 yards in the second half.

Defense was the story of the game the entire third quarter, with both teams punting the ball back and forth, and each offense being held scoreless. On the first play of the fourth quarter, with the Tigers facing a 3rd-and-15 from their own 16-yardline, quarterback Matt Patterson hooked up with Chris Coach for an 84-yard touchdown strike, tying the seventh longest touchdown pass in school history. The PAT attempt failed, leaving the score 23-6.

On the ensuing possession, the Tiger defense came up big once again. Demarcus Thornton intercepted a pass from Wright at the Tiger 39-yard line. Nine plays later, Jerin Wright rushed in from two yards out, and Warfield’s PAT pulled UWA to within 23-13 with 10:53 remaining in the game. That would be the final score of the game for either team, with the defenses playing tough the remainder of the way.

Offensively, the Tigers were led by Patterson who completed 6-of-15 passes for 159 yards. Coach hauled in five passes for a game-high 121 yards. Wright led the rushing attack, carrying the ball 18 times for 52 yards, while A.J. Holloway ran the ball five times for 43 yards.

“Matt [Patterson] was thrown in there in a pressure situation, and handled it extremely well,” said McCorkle.

Wright led the way for the Muleriders, rushing 20 times for a game-high 105 yards, while Holyfield rushed 16 times for 82 yards. Wright also led the passing attack for SAU, completing 6-of-11 passes for 86 yards.

Tim Kelley and Kidane McBride led the tough Tiger defense by recording 10 total tackles apiece. The defense also had five guys finish with seven total tackles apiece. Demarcus Thornton and Richard Bevill also chipped in by recording one interception apiece.

Seth Daigle led SAU with eight total tackles (seven solo and one assist), while Trey Lewis and Derrick Harris added seven total tackles apiece. Keon Phillips chipped in with four tackles for a loss for the Muleriders.

“Now, we just have to get ready for the Henderson State game,” closed McCorkle. “We have got to stop turning the ball over in critical situations.”

The Tigers take the field again next Saturday when they travel to Arkadelphia, Ark., to square off with Henderson State, with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m.